'Accidental' verdict over Prodem demolition worker's death in High Road, Tottenham

A jury at North London Coroner’s Court took little more than 30 minutes to reach a conclusion of accidental death

A jury at North London Coroner’s Court took little more than 30 minutes to reach a conclusion of accidental death

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A jury concluded the death of a young demolition worker who was crushed by a falling pillar in front of his brother was accidental.

Laurence Crossan suffered fatal head and chest injuries in the industrial accident during the demolition of the former Canon rubber factory at 881 High Road, Tottenham, on October 29, 2012.

A jury at North London Coroner’s Court took little more than 30 minutes to reach a conclusion of accidental death this morning following a two-day inquest.

The court had heard during the hearing how Mr Crossan, a “happy chappy” plant machine operator had been working as a labourer on the day he was killed, sorting broken materials from the rubble.

He had been working for demolition company Prodem at the time, which had been sub-contracted by construction firm Galliford Try.

Evidence given in the trial showed all the correct safety measures and risk assessments had been carried out for the job.

The court heard how, shortly before the accident, the site foreman, who was breaking up the remainder of the building’s shell, called out to Mr Crossan to warn him the structure was about to come down.

But for unknown reasons, Mr Crossan ventured into a hazardous ‘drop zone’, where he was crushed by the four-metre pillar as the building collapsed.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) decided against launching criminal proceedings following an investigation with the Metropolitan Police.

Speaking after the accidental death conclusion today, HSE inspector Simon Hester said he suspected the fatality was the result of a miscommunication.

He said: “I hope all of the companies involved will be learning lessons in how they manage people working in high risk situations.

“The main lesson I can see is that everyone needs to be absolutely clear what is happening and there needs to be fail safe methods of communication. It is speculative, but it seems that contributed to the death in my opinion.

“There is one death a week in the construction industry in this country and these cases are always tragic.

“I’ll be having discussions now with the companies involved on their future processes around managing people on site.”

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